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Gang power struggle erupts in Horowhenua

Published: 6:33PM Thursday June 18, 2009 Source: ONE News

A power struggle has erupted within a notorious Horowhenua gang after its founder's death.

Police say they have zero tolerance towards skirmishes within the Nomad gang, which was set up by Dennis "Mossie" Hines in the 70s and based in and around Levin and Foxton.

A house rented by a Nomad gang member, his partner and three children has been burnt to the ground as part of the struggle.

Mark Hercock from the Horowhenua police says the death of Hines in prison prompted the violence.

"What probably preempted this was the death of Dennis Hines in prison, which I believe was Saturday the 6th of June. On Sunday the 7th of June we started to have a series of incidents," Hercock says.

Hines founded the Nomads more than 20 years ago. Some say it was because he felt his Black Power gang was getting too soft.

"He was a staunch leader, staunch to the cause, ruled with an iron hand," says former Mongrel Mob President Willy McGregor.

Hines wanted the Nomads to disband after his death, but his wishes are not being honoured.

"We've got a group of younger band members who wanted to disband and a group of more senior gang members who do not want to disband. As a consequence we're getting a leadership struggle," says Hercock.

The incidents started with shots fired at gang members in Levin and an assault on other gang members also in Levin. There was then another assault and a shooting at at Motuiti Marae, north of Foxton. The most recent incident was an arson in Levin.

More than 1,000 mourners went to the Motuiti Marae for Dennis Hines' tangi last week.

Attendees included members of rival gangs, including Black Power, the Mongrel Mob and the Headhunters, as well as his own gang, the Nomads.

Unusually, there was no trouble between the gangs. It was just within the Nomads; the man shot at the marae was Hines' stepson.

Police have increased patrols in Horowhenua.

They do not believe the public are in danger but they want the gang tension settled before anyone else gets hurt.